Nationals left fielder Gerardo Parra has begun the climb into viral internet fame over the past few weeks, as Washington fans began dancing along to his relatively new walkup, "Baby Shark."
But with Discovery's Shark Week starting on Sunday, it's only fair to take a look at both Parra and his finned predecessor Roger "The Shark" Bernadina.
Right fielder Roger Bernadina, who made his MLB debut with Washington back in 2008, stayed in D.C. until 2013 when he was released.
Bernadina bacame "The Shark" (or, Sharkadina) in 2010, when two 20-something fans decided they wanted to become super fans of the outfielder after they saw him make one of those ridiculous catches he became known for.
So, they went all-in. The pair, Tyler Stoltenberg and Terry Cangelosi, even made a Sharkadina blog (it's at a different address now, but it's still up and running).
Their explanation for christening Bernadina "The Shark," per a Washington Post article: "He [hunted] down balls like a shark."
And Bernadina not only lived up to the nickname, he even promoted it himself. (Personally, I remember Nationals fans making the same "chomping" arm motion for Bernadina back in 2012 as they're doing now for Parra).
The Washington organization ran with it too... check out this Potomac Nationals Sharkadina giveaway:
But when Bernadina was released by Washignton and picked up by Philadelphia toward the end of the 2013 season, the nickname didn't quite transfer.
Bernadina's last year in MLB was 2014, when he played with both the Reds and the Dodgers. (He spent 2015 and 2016 in Triple-A, with the Rockies and Mets, respectively).
Since then, "The Shark" has played in the Korean Baseball Organization, including a huge season in 2017, but was released after the 2018 season. Earlier in July Bernadina signed with a team in the Mexican League.
Though Washington was without an elite fish of prey for a handful of years, when Gerardo Parra changed his walkup song to the ever-popular children's tune "Baby Shark" in the middle of July, fans took notice.
Then it became a thing.
Fans started to do the "Daddy Shark" portion of the dance whenever Parra stepped to the plate. And as more and more fans joined in, more and more people began to pay attention.
You've gotta see Gerardo Parra's Baby Shark intro.— Cut4 (@Cut4) July 24, 2019
This is WILD. pic.twitter.com/kjmb6vaoUl
SOUND OF THE NIGHT:— Jonathan Banks (@jonathanbanks8_) July 27, 2019
Two runners on. No outs. Gerardo Parra comes up and Nationals Park is LOUD.
People in D.C. love “Baby Shark” more than anyone I’ve ever seen.
Just look how much the crowd enjoys it. pic.twitter.com/DlN34q12e1
Nationals fans are lucky; Washington finishes its series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday night, before starting a three-game series against Atlanta. That's four more home games before the month ends in which fans might be able to chomp along to Parra's walkup.
Oh, and Parra is batting 1.000 in seven plate appearances since he changed his walkup, plus he has a .857 OBP in those seven games. (Yes, that's a super small sample size, but random, insignificant walkup-related stats are fun!)
Parra Shark and the Nationals now continue their hunt for a postseason berth. Washington is in a decent position for a wild card spot entering the last third of the season, with a 55-49 record and 6.0 games back from the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves (61-45).
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